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Network Rail consults public on its vision for rail in the North

Network Rail launched its biggest ever public consultation exercise on Friday on its vision for rail in the North of England, including electrification, a new railway in central Manchester and upgrades to Manchester Victoria station.

Exhibitions for the consultation will display plans for Ordsall Chord, a new short section of railway linking Manchester Victoria and Piccadilly stations, along with a wider vision for rail investment across the North. The events will run in Greater Manchester throughout October.

Consultations are also being launched for electrification and improvement proposals for Manchester Victoria station, which have been put together with Transport for Greater Manchester.

Northern consultation

The consultation consists of four parts:

  1. The Ordsall Chord, a new piece of railway Network Rail wants to construct in central Manchester to link Piccadilly and Victoria stations and provide faster, more frequent services across the North. This was funded in the 2010 Budget and is an Infrastructure Planning Commission pre-application consultation.
  2. The Northern Hub, of which the Ordsall Chord is the first part, is Network Rail’s plan to stimulate economic growth by upgrading the rail network across the North. Independent assessments estimate that it could deliver over £4bn of benefits and 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs for the North. More information on the Northern Hub is available at
  3. Electrifying key routes in the North West between Manchester, Liverpool, Blackpool and Preston. The government confirmed funding for this in October 2010 and the work aims to help deliver a reliable railway, tackle overcrowding and reduce the cost of the railway.
  4. Transforming Manchester Victoria station into a safer and more spacious transport interchange. Plans include a brand new state-of-the-art roof, new and improved connections to the Manchester Evening News (MEN) Arena, improvements to the ticket office, new shops and cafes and refurbished heritage features and station frontage (canopy and paving). In addition, there are plans for new platforms to accommodate faster, more frequent trains to Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester airport as part of the Northern Hub and a number of proposed commercial developments next to the station.

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